Issa tries to ‘clear the air’ with Rep. Cummings
March 6th, 2014
11:42 PM ET
6 years ago

Issa tries to ‘clear the air’ with Rep. Cummings

One day after cutting off his Democratic counterpart's microphone, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa telephoned ranking member Elijah Cummings and apologized.

Issa tweeted Thursday evening, "I just wanted to clear the air with @RepCummings." The tweet included a link to a U-T San Diego article in which Issa says he had personally apologized to Cummings.

"I could have offered to reopen the hearing and allowed (Cummings) to make a second statement," Issa told the California paper. "As chairman, I should have been much more sensitive to the mood of what was going on, and I take responsibility."

Issa's apology came hours after the Congressional Black Caucus offered a resolution condemning Issa’s conduct and forced the full House of Representatives to vote on the motion. It was tabled by a 211-186 vote that split down partisan lines.

In response, the Maryland congressman's office released a statement saying he accepted Issa's apology.

"My sincere hope is that as we move forward, we will respect the opinions of all members of the committee, we will proceed in a deliberate and considered manner to obtain the facts, we will refrain from making accusations that have no basis in fact, and we will seek resolution rather than unnecessary conflict," the statement read.

The argument between the two grabbed headlines Wednesday and shifted the spotlight during a hearing that was meant to focus on IRS targeting of conservative groups.Issa called the hearing to again question former IRS manager Lois Lerner and determine if she would answer the committee's questions or again invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

After Issa repeatedly questioned Lerner and she consistently responded by invoking her Fifth Amendment rights, Issa said he was adjourning the hearing. Cumming immediately asked to give a statement and ask a question but Issa told him statements would not be allowed and within minutes had Cummings microphone turned off.

"I am tired of this," Cummings said, visibly upset. "You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that. And it is absolutely un-American."

Issa defended his actions at the time.

"He was talking into a mic in an adjourned meeting. The fact is Mr. Cummings came to make a point of his objections to the process we'd been going through. He was, he was actually slandering me at the moment that the mics did go off by claiming that this had not been a real investigation," he said Wednesday.

However, according to the U-T San Diego report, Issa said that he and Cummings spoke about how they could "do a better job going forward."

– CNN's Lisa Desjardins and Halimah Abdullah contributed to this report.

soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. Obvious

    Cumming’s hissy fit was intended to give the press something to report on besides the fact that Lois Lerner took the Fifth again. CNN is happy to oblige.

    March 7, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake up People!

    Ok Rudy, I guess you're right but it really would be nice to see fair and unbiased reporting.........
    You can, just not here.

    March 7, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Wake Up:

    "I've never in my life seen so much disrespect and encouragement to disrespect the CIC."

    It's not just disrespecting our CIC. Disrespecting each other comes to mind as well. It is disheartening to the core that one political party would consider this "good" politics and encourage their constituents to behave thus towards their fellow citizens.

    March 7, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    Well Obvious, I can guarantee you won't see this story on Fox. Maybe his heartfelt apology though.


    March 7, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Dominican mama 4 Obama wrote:

    Rudy NYC, Turning off the mike was not a first but I do believe that closing the meeting without allowing the congressman equal time was. Can you set me straight on that Rudy?
    I think I misunderstood your original point. I've never before heard of a public congressional hearing being adjourned before the minority party is given the opportunity to say even one word. I wouldn't know how to research and verify that in a timely fashion.

    March 7, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Kram

    Republicans know damn well they will not be silenced. Nor should the Democrats. Issa is obsessed with his own investigation that he doesn't allow the committee he chairs to have any say so. To think repuglicans call OUR president a king. Two faces of the gop are pure evil. So much personal hate and deceit for everyone but themselves.

    March 7, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    Lynda and DM, you're both right.

    March 7, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Former GOP

    Career criminal Issa. Enjoy your money and power now. If GOD does exist, you will rot in Hell.

    March 7, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. Jojola

    I've never witness such utter disrespect and despicable behavior among the republican congress. For the past five years they have done absolutely nothing for "the American people" but whine, complain and find every opportunity to criticize the president. They speak of "freedom" but make every effort to dictate and strip others of their rights. When will they start governing and stop wasting hard earned tax payer's money holding witch hunt trials and repealing "the law of the land" heathcare for the fiftieth time? Since the inception of this administration, deny and repeal has been their only contribution to this country. When are we going to wake up and stop voting for these people and allowing abusive behavior to continue? I agree with the tea party when they said, “It is time to take back our country”. Yes, it is time to take it back but from republicans that have hijacked our civil liberties, crippled our economy and poisoned the minds of the feeble with their repulsive and vitriol bigotry. What a mockery of congress they have made!

    March 7, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. just someone

    Rudy NYC
    DM4O wrote:
    No that isn't the real story.
    See the headline?
    THIS story is about how Issa flipped off a Congressman aborting and ignoring all rules in Congress.
    I believe that what he did was a first. Republicans making history.....
    Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the chair of a congressional committee has switched off the microphone of the minority party during the course of a public hearing. The most recent incident was committed by Issa this past December. I think it during a Benghazi hearing. Issa is running so many of them, just like he promised he would, all at the same time that it's hard to keep track of them.
    He cut the mike after the session was closed. He announced to the audience that the session was closed and they could leave if they wanted and then said if Cummings wanted to speak he could. When it started to become hostile he had the mike cut off. All after the session was adjourned.

    March 7, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. freedom

    What is Cummings so outraged about?? Give me a break. The American people are OUTRAGED that the IRS is targeting them for their ideologies. And that woman has the audacity to plead the 5th again! OUTRAGE?? Cummings – go throw your tantrum somewhere else – not on our dime!

    March 7, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Lolo

    Since 2008 the republicans cannot stand the idea that a black man is president. Issa's behavior to Cummings was carried out because he is black. Same thing different day. People wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Come November everybody make sure that they take the time to go vote. The GOP is expecting us not to vote as usual but this time they are in for a rude awakening. They need to get over it. The American people voted for him twice.For those truly conservatives who are denying it are not facing the truth or living in the real world. The good old boy network is rearing it's ugly head.

    March 7, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    They have both apologized, lets move on with the hearings. Commings said Wed. that he "wants the whole truth and nothing but the truth". It does not sound like this is a phony scandal. Let the information flow so we can find out who knew what, when did they know it, and what did they do about it.

    March 7, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. Vic of New york

    I wrote letter to my Republican Representative calling for the censure of Darrel Issa. Yesterday he voted against it. In November I will vote against him.

    That behavior was a disgrace. That Boehner and Republican supporters are willing to tollerate it is only another indicator of how far the Republican Party and it's "base" of supporters have sunk into the gutters of America.

    March 7, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. tommariner

    You mean the Democrat Congressional Black Caucus is condemning Rep. Issa. That is actually part two of the well-orchestrated "Stop Watergate II" efforts. First was the setup at the Lerner hearing where the Democrats had rehearsed the fact that the highest IRS official (so far) had to explain her fingerprints all of the blatant repression of the Republicans in the 2012 elections was going to spit in the face of the committee. The move was for Rep. Cummings to stay silent until the the chairman adjourned the meeting continuation that was called SOLELY for the purpose of hearing Lois Lerner testify.

    The staged outrage was a delight of method acting. Here's the strange thing - a representative of the United States, Mr. Cummings, has no interest in finding out if the President of the United States or any of his deputies had a part in perverting a federal election. The fake outrage of the Democrat Black Caucus is the second well-rehearsed part - their job is to play the race card that shuts everyone up.

    Clearing the air, Rep Issa probably said to Cummings "I liked the lip curl and the 'hiding' thing, but you have to work on the outrage - that wasn't really believable!". Why exactly do you think Elijah Cummings is the ranking member on that committee?

    March 7, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. Stephen

    This story is complete an utter nonsense. Both sides have been cutting off the other side for years. If you believe this is the story of the hearing than you are not paying attention to the reason for the hearing. The IRS was actively inhibiting the operations of conservative groups. If a republican administration had done something like this you would have heard about every detail for months. Just compare how much time has been spent talking about the IRS issue to the time spent on a stupid bridge issue in New Jersey. Give me a break. I agree politicians need to be more respectful just don't tell me this is an isolated case and stop being so biased.

    March 7, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    just someone wrote:

    He cut the mike after the session was closed. He announced to the audience that the session was closed and they could leave if they wanted and then said if Cummings wanted to speak he could. When it started to become hostile he had the mike cut off. All after the session was adjourned.
    You left out the part about Issa adjourning the meeting without giving the minority party a chance to speak. That is a clear cut rules violation. Defend Issa's megalomaniacial behavior if you so wish, but the final chapter has already been written. Issa apologized for something that he did, which he knew was wrong.

    If Issa didn't want Cummings to speak, then he never should have called for the "fact finding" hearing in the first place.

    March 7, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Vic of New york

    No you don't, you CON. It's in your degenerate DNA: Republi-CON, CON-servative. See?

    March 7, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. physicis1200

    Commings said after the hearning Wed. that he wants "the whole truth and nothing but the truth". Let all the information be brought forward so we can find out who knew what, when did they know, and what did the do about it.

    March 7, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Stephen

    Check out youtube – "Waxman Threatens to Kick Issa Out of Hearing Room"

    Waxman didn't like being corrected when he was not following correct procedure so he threatened to throw Issa out.

    Here is a great example of a Democrat acting the same way. So give up the nonsensical outrage and check into things before you believe they are unique or one-sided.

    March 7, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |

    Democrats screaming racist yet again when it's obvious it doesn't even apply.

    Keep it up democrats, you're showing how stupid you can really be.

    March 7, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    "....The move was for Rep. Cummings to stay silent until the the chairman adjourned the meeting continuation that was called SOLELY for the purpose of hearing Lois Lerner testify."
    Sorry, that's not how committees work during public hearings. You're condoning despicable actions. Acts that have no place in a democracy. Rep. Issa behaved like a totalitarian tyrant, not as a member of a democratic republic.

    March 7, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. tom l

    Pretty ironic to hear dems whining and crying about cutting off the minority's opportunity to speak and have their say while Harry Reid has done just that in the senate.

    March 7, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Dad22

    Issa was sensitive to the mood, he created the mood by stating wrong doing had been uncovered without revealing any evidence of said wrong doing. At this level and in this environment that kind of investigating is frowned upon.

    March 7, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Rob

    It does not surprise me that Representative Cummings accepted Issa's apology. It speaks to the character and integrity that have always been what you could expect from this Maryland congressional leader. As Maryland voter and citizen I'm not so forgiving. Issa's behavior was outrageous and reprehensible. There can be no excuse or rationalization for rudeness and dictatorial behavior of Representative Issa. If Maryland's representative in congress can not exercise the first amendment in congress then our government has truly lost its way.

    March 7, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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